Melania Trump wins damages, apology from Daily Mail publisher

Last Updated Apr 12, 2017 11:00 AM EDT

LONDON -- U.S. first lady Melania Trump has accepted an apology and damages from the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper for reporting rumors about her time as a model, the two parties in the lawsuit said Wednesday.

In a joint statement, the parties said the Mail retracted its false statements that Trump “provided services beyond simply modeling” and agreed to pay damages and costs.

It also admitted as false its published claim “that Mr. and Mrs. Trump may have met three years before they actually met, and ‘staged’ their actual meeting as a ‘ruse.’”

“We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologise to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her,” the statement continued.

The total settlement for the U.S. and U.K. lawsuits was about $2.9 million, according to a person familiar with the settlement who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the information, which was not released in court.

Trump sued the Daily Mail in Britain and Mail Online in the United States over an August 2016 article, which ran in the newspaper under the headline “Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife’s past that could derail Trump.”

In a lawsuit filed in New York in February, the first lady’s attorneys argued that the report was false and damaged her ability to develop “multi-million dollar business relationships” based on her status as a well-known figure and “successful businesswoman.”

Catrin Evans, lawyer for the Mail’s publisher, told a hearing at London’s High Court that the company wanted “to set the record straight, and to apologize to the claimant for any distress and embarrassment that the articles may have caused her.”

The settlement is far less than the first lady had sought. The U.S. lawsuit sought compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million.